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Special Issue "Islam, Immigration, and Identity"

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A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Todd Green

Department of Religion, Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 563 387 1791

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It has been nearly twenty years since the political scientist Samuel P. Huntington first published his famous essay, “The Clash of Civilizations?” In it, he argued that conflict in the post-Cold War era would be driven largely by irreconcilable cultural and religious differences, particularly in regards to Islam and the West. After the attacks of September 11, his thesis found ready acceptance on both sides of the Atlantic as politicians, foreign policy advisors, and even some high-profile academics utilized it both as an explanation for those events and more broadly as justification for the global “War on Terror.”

The thesis has also been applied to domestic tensions stemming from the growth in recent decades of Muslim minority communities in the West via migration and immigration. The “clash of civilizations” narrative has now become the primary framework within which public discourse concerning the presence of the Muslim “Other” within Western nations takes place. Prominent conflicts from the past few decades, including the Rushdie affair, the Danish cartoon crisis, and the Ground Zero Islamic Center debate, are frequently explained by recourse to this narrative and its underlying assumption that Muslim and Western identities cannot be reconciled.

This special issue invites scholars to problematize this narrative and to explore more deeply the intersection of Islam, immigration, and identity in Europe and North America. Its purpose is to shed light on how the growth and increasing visibility of Muslim minority communities in the West has led both Muslim and non-Muslim populations to reflect on and/or reconsider cultural, religious, and national identities in light of the “Other.”

Dr. Todd H. Green
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


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Keywords

  • Muslim
  • Islam
  • Islam and immigration
  • Islam and the West
  • Islam in Europe
  • Islam in America
  • Islam in Canada
  • Islamophobia
  • multiculturalism
  • clash of civilizations

 

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Islam, Immigration, and Identity: An Introduction
Religions 2014, 5(3), 700-702; doi:10.3390/rel5030700
Received: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 August 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
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Abstract
It has been two decades since Samuel P. Huntington, a Harvard political scientist, first published his famous essay, “The Clash of Civilizations?” [1]. In the essay, and later in his book with the same title (minus the question mark) [2], Huntington argues that
[...] Read more.
It has been two decades since Samuel P. Huntington, a Harvard political scientist, first published his famous essay, “The Clash of Civilizations?” [1]. In the essay, and later in his book with the same title (minus the question mark) [2], Huntington argues that conflict in the post-Cold War era will be driven largely by irreconcilable cultural and religious differences, particularly in regards to Islam and the West. The conflict between these two civilizations, while not new, is bound to persist in large part because Islam is prone to violence. Much of the global conflict that exists in the modern world, observes Huntington, involves Muslims. It is for this reason that he states so bluntly: “Islam has bloody borders” ([1], p. 35). [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle Learning to Be Muslim—Transnationally
Religions 2014, 5(3), 594-622; doi:10.3390/rel5030594
Received: 6 January 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 28 July 2014
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Abstract
This essay discusses the religious upbringing experiences and reflections upon them articulated by 53 Muslim American youth who were interviewed as part of a larger sociological study of Arab American teenagers living transnationally. On extended sojourns in their parents’ homelands, these youth—most were
[...] Read more.
This essay discusses the religious upbringing experiences and reflections upon them articulated by 53 Muslim American youth who were interviewed as part of a larger sociological study of Arab American teenagers living transnationally. On extended sojourns in their parents’ homelands, these youth—most were born in the US although some migrated to the US at a young age—were taken “back home” to Palestine and Jordan by their parents so they could learn “their language, culture, and religion”. They were asked about learning to be Muslim in the US and overseas in the context of a much larger set of questions about their transnational life experiences. The data provide insights into the various types of early religious learning experiences Muslims have access to in a US Christian-majority context. The essay then examines how these youth later experienced and interpreted being Muslim in a place where Muslims are a majority. The study found that while a majority of youth said they learned more about their faith, almost half (42%) said that it was the same as in the US, that they did not learn more, or that the experience contributed both positively and negatively to their religious understanding. Key to these differences was the character of their experiences with being Muslim in the US. A majority of girls and of youth who attended full-time Islamic schools and/or were part of a vibrant Muslim community in the US gave one of the latter responses. On the other hand, most of the boys who grew up isolated from other Muslims in the US reported learning more about Islam. They were especially pleased with the convenience of praying in mosques and with being able to pray in public without stares. The data show that living where one is part of the dominant religious culture does not necessarily make for a deeper experience of religion. What seems to matter more is the type of experience with being Muslim each youth brings into the situation, as it was these that informed their subjective interpretations of what it means to be Muslim. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Post-9/11: Making Islam an American Religion
Religions 2014, 5(2), 477-501; doi:10.3390/rel5020477
Received: 3 January 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (225 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article explores several key events in the last 12 years that led to periods of heightened suspicion about Islam and Muslims in the United States. It provides a brief overview of the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment known as “Islamophobia”, and
[...] Read more.
This article explores several key events in the last 12 years that led to periods of heightened suspicion about Islam and Muslims in the United States. It provides a brief overview of the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment known as “Islamophobia”, and it investigates claims that American Muslims cannot be trusted to be loyal to the United States because of their religion. This research examines American Muslim perspectives on national security discourse regarding terrorism and radicalization, both domestic and foreign, after 9/11. The article argues that it is important to highlight developments, both progressive and conservative, in Muslim communities in the United States over the last 12 years that belie suspicions of widespread anti-American sentiment among Muslims or questions about the loyalty of American Muslims. The article concludes with a discussion of important shifts from a Muslim identity politics that disassociated from American identity and ‘American exceptionalism’ to a position of integration and cultural assimilation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Rhetorical Conflicts: Civilizational Discourse and the Contested Patrimonies of Spain’s Festivals of Moors and Christians
Religions 2014, 5(1), 126-156; doi:10.3390/rel5010126
Received: 8 January 2014 / Revised: 9 February 2014 / Accepted: 10 February 2014 / Published: 20 February 2014
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Abstract
The title of this essay identifies a series of verbal scuffles—or “rhetorical conflicts”—that developed in the fall of 2006 within Spain’s larger culture wars. The political skirmishes coalesced around an announcement by the Popular Party (PP) to champion a class of regional festivals
[...] Read more.
The title of this essay identifies a series of verbal scuffles—or “rhetorical conflicts”—that developed in the fall of 2006 within Spain’s larger culture wars. The political skirmishes coalesced around an announcement by the Popular Party (PP) to champion a class of regional festivals for U.N. designation as indispensible elements of “human patrimony.” The war of words stemmed from the PP’s politicization of cultural designations, but the celebrations in question—the fiestas of Moors and Christians common in the south of Valencia region—already generated controversy since they display “rhetorical conflicts” of a different sort: In potentially offensive fashion, the festivals present carnivalesque re-enactments of battles in the medieval “Reconquest” of Iberia by Christian armies over Islamic “Moors.” The essay situates these entangled controversies in the broader context of waves of immigration that have accompanied, or even fueled, a trans-Atlantic discourse centered on notions of a geopolitical “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West. Accordingly, the debates about the Moors and Christians festivals—like the celebrations themselves—reveal deep ambivalence about the role of Islam and of Muslims in Spain’s past and present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Sport, Islam, and Muslims in Europe: in between or on the Margin?
Religions 2013, 4(4), 644-656; doi:10.3390/rel4040644
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 30 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 10 December 2013
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to reveal how misconceptions—or using the concept of Arkoun, “the crisis of meanings”—about the role and position of Islam in Europe is impacting on the discourse on sport, Islam, and immigration. France is selected as a case
[...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to reveal how misconceptions—or using the concept of Arkoun, “the crisis of meanings”—about the role and position of Islam in Europe is impacting on the discourse on sport, Islam, and immigration. France is selected as a case study for this paper as it is in this country where the debate on religion in general and Islam in particular seem to be more contentious in relation to the questions of integration of Muslim communities to secular (French republican) values. Recent sources of tensions include the ban of the Burqa in the public space; the debate on national identity instigated by the former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, which became centred around the question of Islam and Muslims in France; the provocative cartoons about Prophet Mohamed in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo; opposition against the provision of halal meal in France’s fast-food chain Quick; and resistance toward Qatar’s plan to invest in deprived suburbs of France, to name just a few. The other context which this paper examines in relation to the question of sport, Islam, and identity-making of Muslims in Europe is the phenomenon of “reverse migration” or the re-connection of athletes of Muslim background in Europe, or so-called Muslim neo-Europeans, with their (parents’) country of origin. The paper argues that sport is another highly politicised space to judge the level of “integration” of Muslim athletes in European societies, and the degree of “religiosity” in their (parents’) country of origin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Has Multiculturalism Really Failed? A Canadian Muslim Perspective
Religions 2013, 4(4), 603-620; doi:10.3390/rel4040603
Received: 30 July 2013 / Revised: 11 October 2013 / Accepted: 12 October 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (124 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, claims that multiculturalism has created segregated communities, encouraged terrorism, and failed to foster shared national identities in western nations have gained popularity. In this paper, we use young Canadian Muslims’ lived experience of multiculturalism to reflect on this debate. Contrary
[...] Read more.
In recent years, claims that multiculturalism has created segregated communities, encouraged terrorism, and failed to foster shared national identities in western nations have gained popularity. In this paper, we use young Canadian Muslims’ lived experience of multiculturalism to reflect on this debate. Contrary to popular rhetoric, our interviews of 50 young Muslim adults show that many maintain a dual Canadian-Muslim identity by utilizing the ideology of multiculturalism, even though they are increasingly stigmatized for their religion. These findings lead us to problematize the discourse surrounding the ‘failure’ of multiculturalism and to highlight the contradictions within it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Religious Racism. Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Italian Society
Religions 2013, 4(4), 584-602; doi:10.3390/rel4040584
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 15 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
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Abstract
Racism and racial prejudice, considered a relic of obsolete and outdated social systems, is emerging in the depths of ultra-modern Western societies with different characteristics from the past but with a surprising and worrying virulence. These waves of prejudice and racism testify to
[...] Read more.
Racism and racial prejudice, considered a relic of obsolete and outdated social systems, is emerging in the depths of ultra-modern Western societies with different characteristics from the past but with a surprising and worrying virulence. These waves of prejudice and racism testify to the many fears that fill the horizons of advanced societies, undermining not only their internal reliability, but also just their democratic settings. This paper presents a critical review of Islamophobia as a racial prejudice, showing that two main definitions are at work: Islamophobia as xeno-racism or linked to the so-called clash of civilizations. Then, it presents the outcomes coming from a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) survey led among a representative sample of the Italian population (n = 1,523) on Antisemitic and Islamophobic attitudes. The cogency and structure of anti-Muslim public discourse and connected mass attitudes, revealed by our investigation, confirm the emergency of these two relevant dimensions of Islamophobia, which claim for a more accurate definition of Islamophobia. Moreover, the distribution of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attitudes illustrate an interesting overlapping of Islamophobia and Antisemitism which claims that racism is multi-targeted and that there is not so much options between Antisemitism and Islamophobia. Finally, we use three main variables—anomie, ethnocentrism, and authoritarianism—as predictors of Islamophobia and Antisemitism. We tested the strength of these three predictors with the aid of path technique based on multiple regression analysis, which helps to determine the direct and indirect impacts of certain independent variables on dependent variables in a hypothetical causal system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle New Labour and the Re-making of British Islam: The Case of the Radical Middle Way and the “Reclamation” of the Classical Islamic Tradition
Religions 2013, 4(4), 550-566; doi:10.3390/rel4040550
Received: 22 June 2013 / Revised: 8 August 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 4 November 2013
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Abstract
This article examines the emergence of new forms of Islam in Britain between the 1990s and the present, and in particular the role played by the New Labour government (1997–2010) in encouraging new expressions of Islam. It charts the development of the Islamic
[...] Read more.
This article examines the emergence of new forms of Islam in Britain between the 1990s and the present, and in particular the role played by the New Labour government (1997–2010) in encouraging new expressions of Islam. It charts the development of the Islamic tradition in Britain between the migration of mainly South Asian Muslims in the 1950s and 1960s and the Rushdie affair in the late 1980s, before outlining some of the challenges Muslims in Britain have faced transmitting Islamic traditions in a stable state to younger generations. Against the backdrop of increasing public concern about an inter-generational divide among Muslims and its supposed role in allowing radicalism to flourish, the article explores recent attempts to develop and promote forms of Islam that are “authentically British” and that challenge radical perspectives. Using the case study of the Radical Middle Way initiative, it looks into the uneasy relationship between these newer forms of Islam and the supportive New Labour administration, highlighting weaknesses in literature that focuses on the ‘disciplining’ of Muslims. Finally, it explains how the concept of classical Islamic tradition is utilised in creative ways not anticipated or engaged with by advocates of the “clash of civilisations” thesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Minority Political Representation: Muslim Councilors in Newham and Hackney
Religions 2013, 4(4), 502-528; doi:10.3390/rel4040502
Received: 24 June 2013 / Revised: 21 October 2013 / Accepted: 23 October 2013 / Published: 28 October 2013
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Abstract
Scholars have long been intrigued by the role of minority elected officials in representing the interests of their communities. There is an on-going debate on whether distinctive minority agendas exist and whether the existence of minority representatives (descriptive representation) is a necessary condition
[...] Read more.
Scholars have long been intrigued by the role of minority elected officials in representing the interests of their communities. There is an on-going debate on whether distinctive minority agendas exist and whether the existence of minority representatives (descriptive representation) is a necessary condition to secure the representation of minority interests (substantive representation). This article analyzes original interview data to examine these issues through a case study of Muslim city councilors and the dynamics of local government in the Newham and Hackney Borough Councils of London. It finds that the exceptionally high ethnic diversity of Newham with no dominant ethnic group, the lack of racial or religious divides among neighborhoods, and low racial tensions shapes the political culture of the Council, as well as the Muslim councilors, and yields high responsiveness for all minorities. It also finds that non-Muslim councilors play a significant role in the substantive representation of minority interests, including Muslim interests. In contrast, the case study of the Hackney Council reveals that beyond high party fragmentation, ethnicity and religiosity of the Muslim councilors vary widely and hinder effective representation. In addition, their political incorporation is low, and the leadership positions they hold seem to have symbolic rather than substantive impact. The political behavior and representative styles of Muslim councilors reveal a balancing perspective, whereby they advocate for group interests with a more moderate tone. These factors account for the low government responsiveness to Muslim interests in Hackney. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Pervasive Anxiety about Islam: A Critical Reading of Contemporary ‘Clash’ Literature
Religions 2013, 4(4), 443-468; doi:10.3390/rel4040443
Received: 8 July 2013 / Revised: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 18 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
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Abstract
This article analyzes and critiques North American and European “clash literature”—a genre of post-9/11 writings that popularize elements of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, with particular reference to putative threats posed to Western civilization by Islam and Muslims. Attention is given to
[...] Read more.
This article analyzes and critiques North American and European “clash literature”—a genre of post-9/11 writings that popularize elements of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, with particular reference to putative threats posed to Western civilization by Islam and Muslims. Attention is given to a series of salient themes used by multiple texts and authors, in a manner that creates an overarching narrative of Western moral superiority vis-à-vis a monolithic, authoritarian, and misogynistic Islamic culture; betrayal of Western culture by “politically correct” intellectual elites wedded to ideas of multicultural accommodation; and a cascading threat posed by the rapid influx of unassimilable Muslim immigrants who are poised to mount a demographic takeover of Europe and possibly America as well. The content of clash texts is then analyzed and evaluated in light of its detachment from relevant scholarship, its reliance on highly essentialized identity constructs, its use of demographic extrapolations and alarming anecdotes, and its stark rejection of contemporary pluralism. The article concludes with reflections on how scholars might respond to the identity insecurities revealed by clash literature as they seek to advance alternative narratives based on values of dialogue and coexistence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Promoting the Everyday: Pro-Sharia Advocacy and Public Relations in Ontario, Canada’s “Sharia Debate”
Religions 2013, 4(3), 423-442; doi:10.3390/rel4030423
Received: 10 July 2013 / Revised: 10 September 2013 / Accepted: 12 September 2013 / Published: 17 September 2013
PDF Full-text (220 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Why, in the midst of public debates related to religion, are unrepresentative orthodox perspectives often positioned as illustrative of a religious tradition? How can more representative voices be encouraged? Political theorist Anne Phillips (2007) suggests that facilitating multi-voiced individual engagements effectively dismantles the
[...] Read more.
Why, in the midst of public debates related to religion, are unrepresentative orthodox perspectives often positioned as illustrative of a religious tradition? How can more representative voices be encouraged? Political theorist Anne Phillips (2007) suggests that facilitating multi-voiced individual engagements effectively dismantles the monopolies of the most conservative that tend to privilege maleness. In this paper, with reference to the 2003–2005 faith-based arbitration debate in Ontario, Canada, I show how, in practice, Phillips’ approach is unwieldy and does not work well in a sound-bite-necessitating culture. Instead, I argue that the “Sharia Debate” served as a catalyst for mainstream conservative Muslim groups in Ontario to develop public relations apparatuses that better facilitate the perspectives of everyday religious conservatives in the public sphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Migrants in Chains: On the Enslavement of Muslims in Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe
Religions 2013, 4(3), 391-411; doi:10.3390/rel4030391
Received: 24 July 2013 / Revised: 28 August 2013 / Accepted: 28 August 2013 / Published: 4 September 2013
PDF Full-text (274 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Between the Renaissance and the French Revolution, hundreds of thousands of Muslim men and women from the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean were forcibly transported to Western Europe. Those who were not ransomed or who did not return to their homelands
[...] Read more.
Between the Renaissance and the French Revolution, hundreds of thousands of Muslim men and women from the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean were forcibly transported to Western Europe. Those who were not ransomed or who did not return to their homelands as part of prisoner exchanges, languished for decades and, many, for the remainder of their lives, in chattel slavery. This essay considers the enslavement process overall and the conceptual frameworks necessary to bring this poorly known chapter in European social history into focus. Emphasizing the case of the Muslim galley slaves of the Catholic ports of France, Italy and Malta, it argues that without appreciating this phenomenon as a form of migration, as well as part of a larger history of global slavery, it not possible to understand the specificity of confessionalized enslavement within the early modern Mediterranean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Majority versus Minority: ‘Governmentality’ and Muslims in Sweden
Religions 2013, 4(1), 116-131; doi:10.3390/rel4010116
Received: 27 November 2012 / Revised: 30 January 2013 / Accepted: 1 February 2013 / Published: 7 February 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (88 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article deals with the Muslim community in Sweden in view of the majority–minority dynamics with focus on how values, attitudes, behaviors, and practices of the Swedish majority influence Muslim minority communities and how majority society’s approach to Muslims and Islam influences both
[...] Read more.
This article deals with the Muslim community in Sweden in view of the majority–minority dynamics with focus on how values, attitudes, behaviors, and practices of the Swedish majority influence Muslim minority communities and how majority society’s approach to Muslims and Islam influences both the relationship Muslims have with non-Muslims and the understandings that Muslims have of Islam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available

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